Roxanne Parker, 35,
Is a fashion stylist with a background in journalism. She runs her own styling business , regularly appearing on TV, and working both in Ireland and abroad for magazine and advertising clients. She is currently studying for a Diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition in CNM and will qualify as a nutritional therapist in 2016.
When I walked through the doors of No17 Personal training I was suffering from adrenal fatigue, I had just come out of a difficult relationship and I was staring down the shotgun of my 35th birthday and not feeling too good about the prospect of getting older!
I felt stressed out, burnt out and exhausted. The toil of being self employed and juggling my business and finances with studying part time as a mature student and dealing with a broken heart had pushed me to the edge of what I could cope with. I needed an intervention and something deep inside me told me exercise was the answer. On a friends recommendation I booked a consultation with John Belton and knew immediately I had done the right thing. I didn’t ask for thinner thighs, a smaller waistline or to drop a dress size in a week- I told John I needed to get strong; mentally strong,. I needed to become stronger than I had ever been, strong enough to stand up to the challenges been thrown my way. Strong enough to pick myself up off the floor and start again. I was willing to do the work I just needed someone to show me the way.
Amazing things happened pretty quickly after I started to train at No17. I found the half hour sessions three times a week really fit into my life. I treated them as I would an important business meeting-essential and not to be missed. If I had a long day on a fashion shoot, I would schedule a morning appointment for 7 or 7.30am. That way I could train, shower and get ready at the gym and go straight on to the shoot, do my days work and come home and have a life. When you train that earlier in the morning you hardly even remember exercising by the end of the day but you feel the amazing benefits and very quickly I found I had the energy that I needed to excel in my job as well as extra energy in the evenings to live a life. Before exercising I would come home from a shoot feeling like I’d fought ten rounds with Tyson! All I could do was crawl into bed sometimes nursing a blinding migraine.
Other wonderful organic changes started happening in my life. I developed a healthy sleep cycle- the early morning training sessions required early nights! This did wonders for my adrenal fatigue. I started cycling too as it meant I could get to the gym without being stuck in traffic! Without even trying I was de-stressing and getting an extra two hours of cardiovascular work into my week! The more I exercised the more energy I had and I found myself cycling and walking at the weekends too!
If I need the car on a morning I was training I would leave the house at 7am, beat the traffic, and have finished working out by 8am! This meant I could take advantage of the early starts by meeting friends for a healthy breakfast, preparing for a shoot, studying or getting in an early meeting.
I was fresh and ready to work first thing in the morning without coffee and I found I became much faster and more efficient and productive at my job.
I ‘ve never been much of a drinker but when I started training I found that alcohol was seldom if ever part of my new life. Partying, hangovers and late nights held zero attraction for me, as I wanted to preform to the best of my ability and give it my all in every training session. So without even trying drinking just fell away from my life.
Interestingly so did negative people, as my belief system changed I found myself surrounded by friends who had similar interests as me, who were living healthy lifestyles.
I cooked healthy dinners with friends instead of going to the pub, and went hiking instead of clubbing at the weekends! Somewhere along the way physical changes happened too, abs appeared, legs and arms toned and while these weren’t my goals, they were happy side effects of the lifestyle I was living that made me feel more confident in my own skin.
Regular exercise and getting fit has changed my mind frame. I find myself positive, in a good mood and able to cope with my workload and juggle studying and college assignments. I’ve learnt to appreciate my health. I modelled in my teens and early twenties and back then I did whatever it took to stay skinny. I over exercised, I counted calories, I used artificial sweeteners, drank diet sodas as a treat and ate nutrient poor ‘low fat’ and ‘diet’ brand foods that were stripped of their nutrients and loaded with chemicals that played havoc with my hormones. I was underweight at 8 stone. I risked my health, my fertility and my bone density putting my body at risk of oeteoporosis, infertility and depression, all in the quest of thinness. But I was never happy and I never felt beautiful. Back then I didn’t understand nutrition but now I am training to be a naturopathic nutritionist and this combined with working out has made me realise the importance of what’s going on in my body on a cellular level. Now I only put the best food I can source in my body, as I now know that food is just as powerful as any drug and the right foods have the ability to improve my cognitive function, my muscle tone and my moods.
Today I weigh 10 stone yet I am pretty much the same size I was when I modelled with lower body fat and higher muscle mass! I have 2% visceral body fat and a metabolic age of 22! Regular exercise has literally turned back the hands of time on how I look, feel and how I preform! With those results I no longer care how old I am instead I am happy to be alive and feeling amazing and full of vitality!
These days I never count calories instead I eat nutrient dense, organic natural, whole, unprocessed foods, which I cook myself. I realise that the work I do in the kitchen outside No17 is just as important as my time-spent training. I prep my meals so if I have a busy week I always have nourishing foods to hand. I make a batch of chia seed puddings on Sunday nights so I have yummy instant, healthy breakfast on the go for the start of the week. During my time in No 17 I have made tweaks to my diet and I am now 100% gluten and dairy free. I have learnt that I can empower myself and achieve the goals ahead it I prepare for the working week and I give myself the energy my body needs to get through the day. I wish I had known in my teens and twenties what I know now about health and nutrition. I feel passionate about health and supporting and protecting the body with good food and exercise that will fortify you’re immune system. Since I started training I never catch colds or flus!
Cherishing, loving and taking care of yourself is thee most empowering and rewarding thing you can do. It has a cascade effect on all areas of you’re life and that love and happiness trickles down into you’re relationships and how you interact with other people. It will help you cope with life, and the curve balls that it regularly throws at you. I still have my share of life’s speed bumps but now my out look is so positive they are not the only thing I see and I feel more equipped to deal with them. I feel like I am finally a whole person and I feel like I’ve become the person I have always known I could be. When I look back at the girl I was as a skinny model I may have looked beautiful in photos but I was never happy on the inside and I wasn’t healthy in fact I was quite miserable. The journey I have come on with No 17, has taught me so much. It has taught me gratitude, it has thought me to love myself, and its thought me to appreciate my bodies amazing capacity for fitness. I have gone from giving out about my thighs being too muscular to being so thankful that I have legs, that I am mobile, fit and healthy.
For me this is not a diet and an exercise program, it is a way of life and one that makes me feel so incredible and blessed each day that I never want to give it up!